South Korea Voices regret Over Japanese Prime Ministers Statement

kpride, Aug. 6, 2015, 8:49 a.m.

South Korea's foreign ministry on Thursday voiced regret over a report on the Japanese prime minister's upcoming statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, saying that the contents are "not at all" helpful for improving Seoul-Tokyo relations.

Earlier on Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was delivered a report by a group of experts from Japan on their opinion on what should be included in the premier's statement to be released next week.

The report cited acknowledgment of Japan's wartime aggressions, but at the same time it reportedly did not contain any calls for an apology, and instead refers to the South Korean government as having been moving around the "goal post" for the two country's history-related issues.

"(The report) runs counter to the Japanese government's declarations that it will carry forward the perception of history drawn up by the country's previous cabinets," the South Korean foreign ministry said, referring to the landmark Murayama and Kono statements that had offered an apology for Japan's wartime atrocities.

"Furthermore, some parts of the report show one-sided and farfetched views on the post-war Seoul-Tokyo relations, and are not at all helpful for the reconciliation between the people of the two nations," the ministry said.

South Korea and Japan had been seeking to better their frayed ties as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of their bilateral relations. The year is also the 70th anniversary of Seoul's liberation from Tokyo's colonial rule in 1945.

The neighboring countries continue to clash over historical issues, mainly that regarding the enslavement of Korean women by Japan's imperial army. Historians estimate the number of sex slaves at about 200,000, with only 48 South Korean victims surviving today.

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